As Black History month comes to a close, I’m marinating on what I have done or not done to support the movement for Black lives, which includes what I’ve done or not done to support the Black folks in my life – and not just in February.
As white folks who aim to practice anti-racism, we are asked to take self-inventory regularly. If this is ever going to change, systemically, I believe we NEED to.
If I think about February as a microcosm of the rest of the year, which is just a microcosm of the rest of my life … it makes it a bit easier to to ask myself some questions and to recall the answers. These are some of the things I’m checking in with myself around:
Did I consciously talk less and listen more?
Did I work to uplift and/or to directly support Black-led initiatives?
Did I do more to sustain folks than buy them lunch or send them a cash app?
Did I get Black people PAID whenever I could?
Did I give up opportunities or visibility to make space at the table for someone else?
Did I use my privilege for good, and to stand in genuine solidarity when things got real?
Did I appropriate or did I appreciate?
Did I speak up (or over) when I saw something wrong happening?
Did I listen AND speak with compassion?
Did I avoid defensiveness when called in/out/up? Was I accountable?
Did I move with my emotions or my values?
Did I actually DO the work, or just talk about it?
Was I a contribution, or did I cause harm?
Did I take up too much space on these topics, or not enough?
Did I put into practice true anti-racist ideals?
Perhaps you have other ideas around best practices in terms of solidarity; feel free to comment/inbox if you want to share. I wish there were more spaces for white folks to discuss our roles (and the implications of/for these roles) in ending systemic and interpersonal racism.
It shouldn’t require white folks seeing the impacts of racism (often, as manifested in direct violence), and millions subsequently marching in the streets, for a decent sized group of us to even convene to discuss race. It also shouldn’t require February or appear on the calendar for us to examine our lifelong role in ending racism.
Which leads right back to this post — in the absence of those spaces, in the absence of widespread marches, and outside of Black history month, fellow white folks, what are we doing year-round to hold ourselves to account for supporting the movement for Black lives, and to intentionally support, stand alongside, and uplift the Black folks in our lives?